‘My Best Friend’s Exorcism’ by Grady Hendrix or a bad trip you want to turn around from?

Before I start writing this blog post, I just have to release the urge to burst into song.. 🎤 ‘I wanna dance with someboooody’🎶. Yes, I have been possessed by Grady Hendrixs’ writing. It is the only thing that can explain exactly why I would feel like busting out cheesy 80s songs, of the likes of Whitney Houston (sorry Whitney fans, but it makes me cringe). Nonetheless, my memory has been ignited and the sounds of my youth are now everywhere! And thank goodness it is, because something is needed to offset the abject terror that this natty new novel pulls off. How many times do you read a novel that makes you feel warm and fuzzy, whilst also scaring the bejeezus out of you?

This book has been on my radar for quite some time. The premise sounded like just my kind of read- spooky, quirky and a little bit unusual. Heathers crossed with The Exorcist (whatever, Heather). Needless to say, I have been waiting patiently for release date. Imagine my delight, then, when the lovely @cyn_murphy of Twitter and Point Horror appreciation fame pointed me in the direction of an ARC (advanced reader copy). Our shared love of teen horror could only lead to one logical conclusion, in this current nostalgic climate towards such things : a shared read-along! Like a mini-book club via the Internet we simultaneously tweeted our fear and joy as we worked through its glittering pages. What a delight it was to know that someone else was also feeling the same way I was about this brilliant book! Grady Hendrix even tagged along with a few choice comments (book God, that he has now become). I hope he realises what gold he has produced and continues to create, in the same vein. Can I get an ‘I ❤️ Grady Hendrix’ badge please..

While it is difficult to pin down exactly what it is that makes this book so magical, with its unusual blend of ingredients (without spoiling the plot), what is apparent is that Hendrix must be a very insightful writer to draw such unexpected elements together and to make them sing. By his own admission, he used his wife’s letters, in order to understand more closely the precise nature of teenage female friendship and perhaps this is what speaks the most to me when I read it. The intensity. The love. The fallings out. All the pent up angst. Heightened sensitivity and emotion. The struggle to find yourself and your place in the world. It all translates to the experience, bourne forth and lightly worn throughout the narrative. It feels genuine and this marks the skill of a great writer: he stands in someone else’s shoes and makes us believe what they see and experience. I take my lace- gloves off to him.

One thing I will say is this, Grady Hendrix has pulled off an endearingly ambiguous read, full of latent hormones and repressed emotions. He knows how to alternate abject fear with laugh out loud moments- enhancing both for the better. I wanted to hide under my duvet at pivotal moments, shake my fist with rage and rub my mascara- streaked face clean and crimp my hair, sneak out of my house for a nighttime adventure in my local woods (not really) and wonder what had happened in the morning. He has made the 80s cool again and banished all of the negative associations our youths hold, by showing us the great bits and the things we have built from these times (thinking of my own enduring friendships, with people that have grown with me). Perms are no longer the living embodiment of hell! However, you will never be able to listen ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ by Tiffany again, may want to ditch your phone and here more will NEVER want to speak to anyone called Andy ever again.

By the power of Genesis!

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One thought on “‘My Best Friend’s Exorcism’ by Grady Hendrix or a bad trip you want to turn around from?

  1. Rob Cooper says:

    Uh oh, my boss’s name is Andy. Looky, I found your blog. Those Instagram profile pages work like a charm. Well, I was excited to find your review of this book here. Over at audible.com, it just made the daily sale and I snagged it while I had a chance and not long after I got The Exorcist the week prior. It’s going to be a demonic filled holiday season it looks like. Hopefully demons can’t posses through earbuds. Now that I say that, there was some seriously strange overlap going on with The Exorcist and my own life. To keep it short, while Regan’s mom was hearing noises in the attic she assumed were rats and demanded traps to be set, I had a random rat trap horror occur. I had set traps in my attic a month back and wouldn’t you know, the same day I’m listening to this passage, the biggest rat in the world gets clapped up in my attic and he is far from dead. He goes on banging around with the thing on his head until I finally got the courage to go up and deal with the matter. I don’t think I’ll ever use another rat trap again. I prefer the humane ones anyway. So I hope none of my friends get possessed or anything while I’m listening to Grady Hendrix’s book. Anyway, sorry to cut our virtual battle with Pennywise short yesterday with my sluggish response. I had someone come over who was anxious to spend money on some artwork. It kinda felt like Mom calling “dinnertime” in the middle of a Zork game. Remember that one? So, I finally have some Christmas shopping dough! I wonder how much I’ll spend on books.

    Like

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